A sinkhole that formed during storms and swallowed two vehicles on a road in Los Angeles’s Chatsworth neighborhood on Monday, January 9, continued to “exponentially grow in size” over the following days, the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) said.
Footage released by LAFD shows authorities at the scene on Monday night as rain poured down. Further footage, shot during daylight hours, was released by LAFD on Friday, January 13, and depicts the expanded sinkhole and the wreckage of both vehicles after they were removed from the hole.
The sinkhole opened up as storms were causing widespread flooding across southern California. Two vehicles fell into the hole, one on top of the other, fire officials said. Two people in the pickup truck were able to escape, but a woman and her teenage daughter were left trapped in the car beneath the truck, according to LAFD.
With floodwater pouring in, the sinkhole continued to grow and caused the car to shift and roll, the fire department said. Firefighters used an aerial ladder to lower a rescuer down to the vehicle and retrieve each victim with a harness. The rescue operation lasted about an hour, according to the fire department.
“Fortunately, the patients only sustained minor injuries and were transported to the hospital for evaluation,” LAFD said.
When crews arrived at the scene on Monday night, they estimated the hole to be 15 feet deep. By Wednesday, it was 40 feet deep, reports said.
Crews with the Los Angeles Department of Public Works were working to stabilize the road. Credit: LAFD via Storyful